It's time again for the annual 'Stella Awards'!
For those unfamiliar with these awards, they are named
after 81-year-old Stella Liebeck who spilled hot coffee
on herself and successfully sued the McDonald's in New
Mexico where she purchased the coffee. You remember, she
took the lid off the coffee and put it between her knees
while she was driving. Who would ever think one could
get burned doing that, right?
That's right; these are awards for the most outlandish
lawsuits and verdicts in the U.S . You know, the kinds
of cases that make you scratch your head. So keep your
head scratcher handy.
Here are the Stella's for
the past year:
7TH PLACE :
Kathleen Robertson of Austin, Texas was awarded $80,000
by a jury of her peers after breaking her ankle tripping
over a toddler who was running inside a furniture store.
The store owners were understandably surprised by the
verdict, considering the running toddler was her own
6TH PLACE :
Carl Truman, 19, of Los Angeles, California won $74,000
plus medical expenses when his neighbour ran over his
hand with a Honda Accord. Truman apparently didn't
notice there was someone at the wheel of the car when he
was trying to steal his neighbour's hubcaps.
Go ahead, grab your head scratcher.
5TH PLACE :
Terrence Dickson, of Bristol, Pennsylvania , who was
leaving a house he had just burglarized by way of the
garage. Unfortunately for Dickson, the automatic garage
door opener malfunctioned and he could not get the
garage door to open. Worse, he couldn't re-enter the
house because the door connecting the garage to the
house locked when Dickson pulled it shut. Forced to sit
for eight, count 'em, EIGHT, days on a case of Pepsi and
a large bag of dry dog food, he sued the homeowner's
insurance company claiming undue mental Anguish.
Amazingly, the jury said the insurance company must pay
Dickson $500,000 for his anguish. We should all have
this kind of anguish.
Keep scratching. There are more...
4TH PLACE :
Jerry Williams, of Little Rock, Arkansas , garnered 4th
Place in the Stella's when he was awarded $14,500 plus
medical expenses after being bitten on the butt by his
next door neighbour's beagle - even though the beagle
was on a chain in its owner's fenced yard. Williams did
not get as much as he asked for because the jury
believed the beagle might
have been provoked at the time of the butt bite because
Williams had climbed over the fence into the yard and
repeatedly shot the dog with a pellet gun.
G rrrrr. Scratch, scratch.
3RD PLACE :
Amber Carson of Lancaster, Pennsylvania because a jury
ordered a Philadelphia restaurant to pay her $113,500
after she slipped on a spilled soft drink and broke her
tailbone. The reason the soft drink was on the floor:
Ms. Carson had thrown it at her boyfriend 30 seconds
earlier during an argument. What ever happened to people
being responsible for their own actions?
Scratch, scratch, scratch. Hang in there; there are only
two more Stellas to go...
2ND PLACE :
Kara Walton, of Claymont, Delaware sued the owner of a
night club in a nearby city because she fell from the
bathroom window to the floor, knocking out her two front
teeth. Even though Ms. Walton was trying to sneak
through the ladies room window to avoid paying the $3.50
cover charge, the jury said the night club had to pay
her $12,000....oh, yeah, plus dental expenses. Go
1ST PLACE :
May I have a fanfare played please ?
! - Mel).
This year's runaway First Place Stella Award winner was
Mrs. Merv Grazinski, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma , who
purchased a new 32-foot Winnebago motor home. On her
first trip home, from an OU football game, having driven
on to the freeway, she set the cruise control at 70 mph
and calmly left the driver's seat to go to the back of
the Winnebago to make herself a sandwich. Not
surprisingly, the motor home left the freeway, crashed
and overturned. Also not surprisingly, Mrs. Grazinski
sued Winnebago for not putting in the owner's manual
that she couldn't actually leave the Driver's' seat
while the cruise control was set. The Oklahoma jury
awarded her, are you sitting down, $1,750,000 PLUS a new
motor home. Winnebago actually changed their manuals as
a result of this suit, just in case Mrs. Grazinski has
any relatives who might also buy a motor home.
as a society, getting more stupid...? Ya Think??!!
More than a few of our judge's elevators don't go to the
top floor either!
WHAT'S EVEN SCARIER - THESE JURORS
AND JUDGES MAY VOTE ON ELECTION DAY!!!